The Basics: Online and Offline Marketing – Rounding Out Your Strategy

When you’re trying to decide how to really take your start-up to the next level, advertising can easily be your biggest concern:

  • How much do you spend?
  • What will guarantee the best return?
  • What do people really pay attention to?

Advertising experts usually suggest 7% of your projected sales should go to ad campaigns and promotions, but when you factor in variables like cost of transaction, rent, and geographic location, the budget formula can be much more complicated.

And then, of course, there’s deciding how much of your advertising should be online and how much should be offline. You probably keep up with the trends in business enough to know that online advertising is rapidly growing, but you might want to think twice before you focus all your energy on websites and social media.

The affordability and level playing field of the internet can be tempting, but it’s important that you legitimize your business outside the computer and avoid becoming just another option in cyberspace.

1. The Growth in Online Marketing

The internet has revolutionized small business on every level, and advertising is a major part of that. Now, almost anyone can be an entrepreneur and compete in markets usually dominated by larger companies. Social media is a relevant, wide-reaching, and virtually cost-free way to advertise to millions of people.

The ROI agency Zenith Optimedia reports that of the $23 billion in advertising growth expected for 2013, $13 billion or more will be in online advertising. That’s more than half the entire growth focused on a medium that costs much less on average than concrete, offline methods. So it’s no wonder the trend is being emphasized in business media.

Yes, every business needs a website – it’s no longer an option any more. Yes, you need a Facebook page, Twitter, and other social media profiles to maximize your brand exposure. But the greater and more level playing field of the internet also creates greater competition and more pressure than ever to stand out from the crowd.

2. Why Offline is Still Relevant

No matter how many people want to tell you advertising is going entirely online, consider that the growth might be far less than you imagine. Research group eMarketer says 25 percent of advertising across all mediums will be spent online by 2016. But 75% of advertising will still be offline, and even entirely internet-based companies will still spend much more on traditional marketing.

The big reason for this is legitimization. Businesses that operate entirely online still have a stigma of being less developed and less legitimate than offline businesses, and the lack of streamlining in the online market can leave customers unsure of who they should trust or take seriously.

Print advertising in the form of ads, coupons, banners,
billboards, and flyers might cost slightly more, but
it’s also proven to yield far better results.

When running a new business, you can never forget that 9 out of 10 start-ups don’t make it past the first 5 years, and this has a lot to do with how easy the internet has made it to create one. If you want to be the exception to the rule, you can’t always choose the easy option.

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Categories: The Basics

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